Monday, April 4, 2011

Personal Critical Review of Firearms - SVT 40 (Soviet SVT 38/40)

SVT 40 (Soviet SVT 38/40)
Samozaryadnaya Vintovka Tokareva, Obrazets 1940 goda
(Tokarev Self-loading Rifle, Model of 1940)

Personal - I found this rifle to be one of my all-time personal favorites, I have owned three examples one was outfitted with a 2 power PU Russian scope, but I should stay critical and point out the flaws and problems. Even though this rifle fires the full power 7.62x54 R round the recoil is manageable and the length likely adds to the possible accuracy. The rifle is simple to operate and reliable with quality ammunition. Low quality ammunition problems may likely have been the biggest issue with reliability for the Russians.  Historically, outside of lack of training and "mechanical understanding limitations" of conscript Russian troopers, well trained and educated troopers like the Finns and Germans liked this auto-loading rifle.

Function - Can be excellent when clean and properly maintained, dirty surplus ammunition will foul the gas system quickly causing poor and inconsistent ejection. Even when reloading for this rifle there is a limitation of choice, I achieved my best results with a .311 150gr and 180gr bullets loaded to low pressures with the 150gr bullet edging out the 180gr in accuracy, but only slightly. All malfunctions I encountered with my examples were ammunition related.

Design flaws - This adjustable gas system requires a special wrench and is prone to fowling and can be "locked in" with corrosion, magazine is weak and prone to damage and will collect dirt and contaminates. Rifle was designed to be loaded with clips from the top of the action but MN clips are awkward and ill designed. The round is too powerful for this rifle design and should be loaded down to match the capabilities, full power rounds will eventually start to break parts (luckily I never broke any major parts shooting them). The stocks were produced from a cheep soft wood, I refinished my examples and the wood reminded be of American redwood or cedar without the pleasant smell. The rifle is far too long for all but the tallest and largest shooters - it is almost like pointing a flag pole. The sights are typical hooded front post and primitive square notch rear flat, adjustment is difficult and requires special tool.

Quality - Most produced are of reasonable quality, some makers better than other, war time production limitations and heavy demand often produced rifles of various quality.

Caliber/Ammunition - 7.62x54R, can be an accurate and effective cartridge, it is an older rimmed case originally designed for older powders. This round is far from simply obsolete it is outdated, but is in current production.

Use - Use of a rimmed cartridge, poorly designed very expensive magazine that is limited in capacity along with difficult to find replacement parts are all a consideration.

Current Production - There is no current production of this rifle, surplus examples can be of good to very poor in condition.

While there is some historical interest I personally would consider this rifle a third tier choice at best, for a personal MBR. It could be regulated to higher choice if the user expects to have several Mosin-Nagant rifles in collection for interchangeability of ammunition.

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